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September 13, 2012

Rare Photos of September 11 Attacks Taken by Polaroid

This year will be the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

On the day of the attacks, Jim Edwards, a Senior Editor of Business Insider, lived directly across the Hudson River from the twin towers, in downtown Jersey City, N.J. took a set of Polaroid shots of the disaster.

On the day of the attack I was a freelance business journalist. The collapse of the towers brought work to a halt, so I went outside with my old-fashioned Polaroid camera to take some pictures. They're not great quality, but the Polaroid was the only camera I owned in the era before cellphones.

Thinking that there would be thousands of wounded people, I approached this police officer to ask if I could donate blood. He said there was no need: People in the buildings either died or survived. Relatively few were wounded. You can see the smoke in the background at the end of the street.

This shot isn't great, but it shows that after the towers collapsed the smoke plume completely obscured the Manhattan skyline. Normally, you can see the downtown skyline on this street.

Here you can see that the rest of the World Financial Center — where the Wall Street Journal used to have its offices — remained relatively unscathed.

This shot shows the scale of the disaster: Note that the smoke cloud is greater than the biggest buildings left in the city.

People didn't know how to react to the disaster, and no one really knew how serious it was at the time. A crowd gathered in Morris Canal Park to watch the fire.

Someone brought a sun umbrella. The guy on the bicycle at the far right used the opportunity to work on his tan.

This shot includes the park's horizon landmarks guide, so you can see where the twin towers should have been — and how tall they were compared to the remaining buildings.

At times the smoke grew black, dark enough to blot out the sunny day over Brooklyn. About 3,000 people died that day; 2,606 lost their lives in the towers.



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